Vitamin and minerals are essential for the growth and development of the body and support various functions in the body. For this reason, doctors and health experts pay emphasis on the consumption of nutrition-rich and balanced diets.
Vitamin deficiency is common among children as they are fussy eaters and eat only what they like. This results in improper nutrition and causes several problems in the body and also hinders the development of the child. This is the reason that the health market has seen a sharp rise in the variety of multivitamins for kids in India.
Even pediatricians recommend oral intake of vitamin supplements for kids if there is a lack of proper nutrition from a regular diet. If your child is also a picky eater and does not consume a proper diet, this article is for you. Read on to find out more about essential vitamins, signs of vitamin deficiency, what are good sources and how to overcome vitamin deficiencies.
Vitamins that are Commonly Deficient in Children
Studies have commonly found certain vitamins that are not taken in optimum amounts among children and results in deficiency among them. These are:
The first common observation with vitamin A deficiency affects the vision of the person. If any child struggles in reading or looking in low light, he/she might be vitamin A deficient. Vitamin A also is required for a proper immune system and its lack may result in frequently getting sick. Also, deficiency of this vitamin may result in dry eyes, dry skin, etc.
There are various types of vitamin B in this category, and each type of Vitamin B deficiency can cause different problems. Any kind of vitamin B deficiency would result in ulcers and lesions inside the mouth. Lack of Vitamin B7 may reflect in brittle hair and nails, fatigue, muscle pain, skin rash and muscle cramps. Also, if you observe hair loss of your child, he/she may be deficient in vitamin B3 and B7.
Vitamin C is crucial in supporting the immune system and its deficiency results in frequent cold and coughs. Deficiency of this vitamin may also slow down the healing process, resulting in bleeding and swelling of gums, dry hair and frequent bruising. Consider adding vitamin supplements for kids in your child’s diet if he/she is a picky eater.
Also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, Vitamin D is crucial for the absorption of calcium into the bones and its deficiency may cause some serious problems. Lack of vitamin D can result in bone disease, inflammatory bowel conditions, liver diseases. Children may experience fatigue, dizziness or nausea if they are Vitamin D deficient.
Its lack also causes pain and discomfort in the body and also affects mood levels. Studies have shown that children who develop a Vitamin D deficiency at a young age, can experience osteomalacia, a health condition where the bones become soft, almost malleable, causing structural deformities.
Vitamin E occurs generally in children who are malnourished. Its deficiency can cause poor vision, weak muscles, and children may also face challenges to walk due to shaking problems.
Signs of Nutritional Deficiencies
Parents should watch for common signs of nutritional deficiencies that are found in children, these are listed below:
It is linked to the ability of the brain to process information and remain calm at the same time. Hyperactivity is caused by children due to poor digestion and bacterial flora. To deal with this problem, many health experts recommend excluding processed foods and food dyes from the diet of their child.
Gone are the days, when these problems were only faced by adults. Improper nutritional intake can lead to inadequate levels of amino acids that affect the neurotransmitters. The proper balance of hormones like serotonin, endorphins, catecholamines, etc. contribute the mood levels and help in maintaining calmness.
Dry Skin and Hair
Apart from the regular effect of weather changes, dry skin and hair of your child may indicate a deficiency of vitamin A, D, E and K2. Inadequate nutrition may result in this, and this isn't repaired until the dietary intake of the child is taken care of.
Children that are deficient in Vitamin B12 often display signs of delayed speech. Parents should check with the health experts before starting B 12 supplementation for kids.
Poor Dental Structure
Most people are unaware of the fact that improper diet and nutrition can result in the crowding of teeth. Studies have shown that children who indulge in processed foods or whose mothers had improper diets during their pregnancy have poor dental structure.
Frequent Cold & Flu
Immunity and nutrition go hand-in-hand. Kids with inappropriate nutritional intake have poor immunity and get sick often.
Cavities may also be a result of a deficiency of minerals and fat-soluble vitamins, apart from extra sugar intake.
While obesity is taken as a result of excess eating, it can also be a result of a deficiency of vitamins and minerals. The body requires nutrition-rich food, and when it is deprived of such food and instead given processed food, it leads to obesity.
Foods Rich in Vitamins
There are multiple food sources from which the above-mentioned vitamins can be obtained. One must include these foods in their daily diet. These are:
For Vitamin A: Dairy products, green leafy vegetables, eggs, oranges, carrots, meat, etc.
For Vitamin B: WHole grains, fish, meat, dairy products, nuts, egg yolks, spinach, broccoli, bananas, leafy greens, etc.
For Vitamin C: Kiwi, oranges, broccoli, bell peppers, guava, etc.
For Vitamin D: Fatty fishes, mushrooms, fortified foods like cereal, orange juice, cheese, clarified butter, COD liver oil and sunlight
For Vitamin E: Almonds, spinach, avocado, sweet potatoes, etc.
Parents should try to incorporate healthy nutrition-rich foods in their child’s diet as mentioned above. However, if you are opting for vitamin supplements for kids, make sure to pick a reliable brand that offers natural and best quality ingredients. These supplements are made keeping in mind the dietary requirements of children and fulfil all nutritional gaps aiding proper growth and development.
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